Gunupur: After the Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal (VWDT) allowed the Andhra Pradesh government to construct a barrage at Neredi across Vamsadhara and directed the state government to acquire land for the project, such decisions of the tribunals and the inaction of the state government have triggered discontent among people in Gunupur area in Rayagada district and the Vamsadhara basin region.
Vamsadhara Surakshya Samiti, a local outfit, which has been fighting for the protection of the river water has decided to carry on agitation for a month. The outfit held a meeting under the chairmanship of Brahmananda Pattanaik.
The outfit has decided to start a month-long agitation from August 1. The activists of the outfit have taken up the issue with Gunupur MLA Raghunath Gamang and the state advisor of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana Sudhir Das and deliberated on the advantages and disadvantages of the Neradi project in the region.
The outfit has slammed the state government for its apathy and silence on the issue on such a sensitive issue.
“We will launch an agitation with the help of various organizations to build pressure on the state government to oppose the project by the Andhra Pradesh. People living in Gunpur and in the river basis region will be part of the agitation,” Patnaik said.
From August 15, the outfit will carry a padayatra from Panidangar and pass through villages to make people aware of the issue. Meetings will be held in those villages that will be affected by the project, he added.
It was decided that a delegation of people from the region will hold discussions with the state government over the issue.
It may be noted that while giving green signal to the neighbouring state, the tribunal set certain conditions for carrying out the project.
The barrage would have a right head sluice through which Andhra can draw 8,000 cusecs of water and have a Left Head Sluice (LHS) to cater for the needs of Odisha
According to the tribunal, both the states would have the right over the water of the river.
The tribunal also directed the state government to acquire 106 acres of land required for the barrage and hand it over to AP within a year from the date of publication of the present order.
In return, the AP government would have to give compensation to the affected people in Odisha. Rehabilitation of land losers should be given priority.
It was said that an agreement had been signed between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in 1961 for construction of a barrage at Neredi. Some villagers residing in the left side of Neredi are unhappy over the decision as they apprehend submergence of huge tracts of farm land.
The tribunal had ordered the construction of the barrage in September 2017. However, the Odisha government had sought a clarification on the matter from the tribunal, which came recently. Odisha has also moved the Supreme Court seeking detailed clarification on the project.